Inside “the feminine and fluid” world of artist Yimiao Liu

Inside “the feminine and fluid” world of artist Yimiao Liu

The work of New York-based artist Yimiao Liu feels meticulous. Her drawings are beautiful and esoteric, often creating otherworldly metaphors for real-world situations. “I would describe my visual aesthetic as feminine, fluid, quiet, reserved, earthy,” says Yimiao when we catch up with her. “And sometimes they’re grotesque, enveloping all aspects of nature.” It’s true that a peek into Yimiao’s portfolio feels like staring into the heart of an introvert: elaborate small details unfold on every corner at the drawing, as if noticed by a keen yet silent eye. “I have a small notebook where I write down key words of ideas and thoughts that come across my mind and sketch down rough thumbnails,” Yimiao says on her process of creation. “Since my working process is very long and meditative I hold these ideas in my mind, thinking about them over and over, sometimes new thoughts emerge and go into the piece and others filter themselves out.”

Her paintings are much the same too, displaying what Yimaio describes as “ visceral emotions that are somehow built a bit like a short story, or a monologue,” rather than simply a collection of several ideas. Her references and inspiration comes from the world around her, most noticeably the natural organic imagery of flora and fauna “of all sorts,” she says. Yet, in Yimiao’s work nature becomes slightly distorted into the uncanny, as if recognisable but still out of reach. “One of my latest drawings, A Pounding Heart, was about being in the world, being extremely sensitive, while wilfully being vulnerable and trusting it,” she explains. “It is a kind of devotion to the process we are in but that can also lead to kinds of desperation that can manifest in acts of destruction.”

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